DUBAI 15 December 2018: Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, has called for an acceleration in global efforts to ensure that the terms of the Paris Agreement on climate change are implemented without further delay.
Dr. Al Zeyoudi conveyed the UAE’s message to the international community in his address at the 24th Conference of the Parties, COP24, to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC, in Katowice, Poland, on 12th December, 2018.
Delegates from more than 190 countries and territories were part of the audience at the event that aims to formulate the required legislation to ensure the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
The minister met with Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, on the sidelines of the conference and discussed the challenges posed by climate change and the ways for the international community to cooperate in mitigating its effects.
The UN Secretary-General praised the UAE’s prominent role in combatting global warming and its efforts globally in supporting initiatives to reduce the consequences of climate change.
In his speech, Dr. Al Zeyoudi pointed to the importance of experimenting with models that have proved successful in reducing the effects of climate change, across several sectors. In addition, he called for the adoption of renewable and clean energy projects and called for the dissemination of solutions through effective international initiatives.
The UAE has adopted a series of ambitious visions and strategies, including the UAE Vision 2021, to promote sustainability. The UAE Energy Strategy 2050 seeks to bring the share of clean energy in the total energy mix to 50 percent, while the National Climate Change Plan of the UAE streamlines the concept of climate change mitigation and adaptation across the government and private sector.
The minister said, “The UAE has supported these strategies and plans with robust and long-standing initiatives on the ground such as the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park and Noor Abu Dhabi, the world’s largest solar power plant that is being built in the UAE capital at a cost of AED3.2 billion. We are currently in the process of assessing the adaptability of our environmental and economic systems to climate change impacts in a bid to boost their efficiency. In addition, we are about to issue the first law on climate change.”
“The UAE has also – through its government and semi-government entities – helped deploy renewable energy solutions across the world. The work of the UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund, which allocates millions of dollars to execute renewable energy projects that help reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the Caribbean island countries, testifies to the country’s efforts,” he added.
Dr. Al Zeyoudi noted that in early 2018, the ministry launched the Climate Project on a global scale with the objective of positively influencing 10 million people around the world and helping them become resilient to climate change impacts.
The minister pointed out that the impacts of climate change, highlighted in previous cycles, were growing in intensity and frequency, and adversely affecting the lives of millions of people.
He said, “The warning signs are becoming more evident and dramatic – the devastating forest fires, droughts, floods, and hurricanes are now the norm rather than the exception across the globe. Such climatic catastrophes reaffirm to the international community that we were not blowing the matter out of proportion when we warned against the considerable risks that climate change poses to human lives and property. They also make it very clear for world nations that they have no choice but to intensify their efforts to cut down carbon emissions and expedite climate adaptation measures, both at home and abroad.”
Dr. Al Zeyoudi concluded his speech by inviting the delegates to attend the upcoming edition of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in Abu Dhabi, in January 2019. The annual global platform will bring together thousands of world leaders, businesspeople and experts to engage in high-profile conferences, exhibitions and activities aimed at identifying innovative solutions to global sustainability issues, with climate change at the forefront.
He also met with Erik Grigoryan, Armenian Minister of Nature Protection, on the sidelines of the conference. They discussed ways in which Armenia could leverage the UAE experience in protecting biodiversity and achieving the sustainability of natural resources.
In a separate meeting with Siim Kiisler, Estonian Minister of Environment and Chairman of the fourth session of the General Assembly of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEA-4), Dr. Al Zeyoudi discussed the main proposals and themes to be addressed at the event scheduled to run in March 2019.
He also met with Malik Amin Aslam, head of the Pakistan delegation and Advisor to the Pakistan Prime Minister on Climate Change. They discussed the means to enhance cooperation between the two countries in various environmental fields.